Pet peeves

Pet Peeve- Gluten Free

If you pay attention to sites like or  (aka greedy girl porn), you can see when a certain flavor or food is the new hotness among foodies.  Nutella. Salted caramel. Macarons. Pork belly. Kale chips. Cake pops. Gluten free.

I was at my Co-op last week and a couple in front of me was chatting with a super-friendly cashier.  The husband was making macaroni and cheese for the first time, but only for himself.  The wife stated their son doesn’t like mac’n’cheese and she’s gluten free at the moment.

What? Come on.

Why is a dietary restriction due to the what describes as “an immune reaction in … small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine” a fad?  Maybe people don’t realize there are approximately 3 million Americans that struggle with daily food options because ingestion of wheat, barley or rye will lead to a variety of problems including GI symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, steatorrhea (fatty stool).  I have a friend, who just got married 10/12/12 (woot woot!) and the best man described him as Superman who’s Kryptonite is a dinner roll.

According to a study recently published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, authors found an estimated prevalence of Celiac Disease (CD) in the United States of 0.71% (1 in 141), with most cases undiagnosed.  The prevalence for those on a gluten free diet (GFD) is 0.63%.  Most of the NHANES subjects on a GFD had not been given a diagnosis of CD.

About 1% of Americans have Celiac disease.  Today on there are over 10,000 entries under ‘gluten free’.  The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimate that 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant.  There are 145 entries on for ‘lactose free’.  I understand that people may be trying to avoid white carbohydrates- flour, sugar, potatoes, etc.- because they have little to no nutritional value (but they can be oh so delicious).  But a gluten free diet seems unnecessary for most.  The authors of the study also state “self-treatment with a GFD is not recommended and should be discouraged.”  So if you think you have a problem, seek medical attention.  But if you are testing out a GFD for kicks, seek a hobby.

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Pet Peeve- Wheelchair Walkers

A few years ago I started a list of pet peeves.  I was saving them to publish a book, perhaps coffee table book like the ones sold at Urban Outfitters.  You know something really classy.  But in the mean-in-between, I’ll start a series here.

First up is a request from my friend Max- Fred Flintstone wheelchair walkers.

These are individuals that are seated in wheelchairs but use their legs to propel themselves.  The motion may be either kicking backwards or digging feet into ground to pull them forward.  Last week a patient was kicking himself backwards down the hospital hall steady looking at his phone.

Growing up, there were wheelchairs in the lobby of my church.  While our moms were in choir practice, my friend and I would roll around in the chairs, maybe race each other, you know silly kids’ stuff  Then one day a lady told us it was bad luck to sit in a wheelchair when you didn’t need one.   From then on, I have steered my fanny clear and have thankfully not needed one.

I have been under the impression that the people in wheelchairs are those that either incapable of walking or those that have difficulty walking.  But if you are kicking and pedaling like Fred and Barney racing to a plate of fried pterodactyl wings, it would seem you may be more capable than most.  Why not, heaven forbid, use your hands to roll yourself as intended in the design of the wheelchair?

This is meant as no disrespect to those that are wheelchair-bound.  I work in the healthcare field with a population where a  number of individuals are in wheelchairs.  I think that is why wheelchair walkers bother me even more.  Like the old saying goes- If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.  So if you can, get up, move around because there are plenty of folks that wish they could.

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